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Why and How Do We Weed?

how to weed
by Alison North Alison North

Weeding is one of the biggest and most important jobs in the garden - but why do we do it, and what’s the best way? Read on for an explanation.

What is a weed?

A weed is simply an unwanted wild plant. If you didn’t plant it, you don’t like it and it’s taking up valuable space in your garden, it’s a weed! There are many common types of weeds that no-one wants in their garden - read about how to identify them here.


Why do we weed?

You don’t always have to. Some weeds can even have great benefits for wildlife - for example, early bees feed on Dandelion flowers, so you should try to leave some until they turn to seedheads. However, there’s only so much space and goodness in the soil, and if the weeds are taking it all, your plants will suffer. A lot of weeds also look pretty rubbish and grow so quickly that they can take over the entire space if you let them. That’s when we need to weed!

sow thistle

How to weed

The easiest way is to pull up the weeds by hand - wear thick gardening gloves if the weeds are tough, thorny, prickly or hairy and make sure you pull out the roots too, or they’ll just come back.

Tougher weeds can be cut down with shears or a weeding knife, or dug out with a trowel, hand weeder or hoe. Put the weeds in your garden waste collection bin - don’t compost them, as the seeds may lie dormant in the compost.

Little and often is best. Try to keep on top of the weeding and do a little bit every few days - it’s easier than letting the weeds spread and having to spend hours getting rid of them later on.


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